31384 Federal Iron Brigade Reaching for Cap Wearing Gaiters

W. Britains

The Iron Brigade was often referred by the Rebs as “Those Dammed Black Hats!” Even though the brigade was made up of volunteers from Wisconsin and Indiana, early in the war they appeared dressed in the Regular U.S. Army uniforms of nine button frock coats, white canvas gaiters, and black felt Hardee hats turned up with a brass eagle on one side. As the war continued the campaigning and reequipping took their toll on the distinctive uniform, and by the time Michigan troops joined them for the Gettysburg campaign, they dressed like most of the Federal Army in four button fatigue coats and no gaiters. But they always retained their “Black Hats.”

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